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Matching Minions: Tomb Of Tyrants

Puzzle Quest meets Dungeon Keeper

My quest to discover the heir to Puzzle Quest continues. You might think that in an age when 98% of games released have a match-3 component (the other 2% are Diner Dash style time management doohickeys) there'd be Puzzle Quests aplenty, but nothing since the original has managed to capture my attention in quite the same way. Ironcast could be the answer and Hero Emblems has shouldered its way onto my iPad this week, but for now the search continues.

Tomb of Tyrants is a new release that mixes match-34 with Dungeon Keeping. It's quite an effective blend.

I've only spent an hours with ToT so I have no idea if it's system of unlocks and gradual progression will keep my interest, but it's an enjoyably frantic thing. There's a tyrant, see, and you need to keep him alive by carving out new subterranean territory for him to control. Every new level you clear, by sliding resources to match and gather them, creates space for a new room. The rooms spawn minions of the usual sort - zombies, imps, bandits - and they'll work as bodyguards for the tyrant when heroes come calling.

And that's about it, as far as I've seen. Make matches, expand territory, gather resources and deploy the occasional item to buff your creatures, harass heroes or alter the matching board. Everything happens rather quickly and the parties of plunderers won't hold back while you're looking for the perfect match, which does take away from tactical considerations somewhat. I rarely found time to target specific resources because I was to busy simply trying to survive. The limited size of the matching area adds to the sense that chance plays a bigger part than I might like, as I tend to find myself mashing rather than matching.

The theme is a good match for the genre though, with the downward motion of the tiles - which are affected by 'gravity', tumbling into position - working well with the descent of the tyrant. It's attractive too, in its way, with some pleasant little touches, such as the cute little milk bottles that form when enough bones are crunched together. The screen is far too busy at times, particularly with the names of what I presume are Kickstarter backers scrolling past on the menus, and I was convinced the whole thing had been ported from tablets at first, but once my eyes adjusted to the layout of the screen and scale of each element, I enjoyed the finer details.

I'm a rubbish tyrant though. The game expects you to die, carrying over unlocks from one attempt to the next, but I'm not entirely convinced that I've made any progress at all.

There's an old alpha demo over at the Kickstarter page so you can at least try something before deciding whether to buy.

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